|Nation: High Plane|
| Faction: |
Clergy of Hephaestus
- "The bearers of my blades are my people. They do my will, and the will of my brother--who cared more about this world than any of you conniving schemers. If it's a fight you want, it's a fight you will have!"
- —Hephaestus to Nergal
Hephaestus is the God of the Forge, the brother of Cardia and the patron deity of the Clergy of Hephaestus. He became the leader of the Gods of Light after Cardia's demise in the Cataclysm. He was responsible for creating and blessing the swords Dawn and Dusk and has recently made Axikasha Keiran his high cleric. Hephaestus is an enemy of Nergal and Artemicia and has helped the Grand Alliance on several occasions.
Hephaestus and his brother Cardia were born from the Earthmother, Gaea. Hephaestus became the God of the Forge and created the race of dwarves as well as the Clergy of Hephaestus. He participated in the War of the Andain on the side of other gods and Taliesin to oppose Kagetsu I, the Dark Andain who had slain Gaea.
Kagetsu was eventually sealed but soon a new threat rose. Mardük, the God of Chaos, was causing trouble in the nation of Eblana in 1 CE and began the Chaos War. A group of heroes decided to oppose Mardük, however, and Hephaestus and the other gods of light indirectly helped them to stop the spread of Chaos. The heroes were successful, and Mardük was sealed into an ethereal prison, but the Clergy of Mardük survived the war and remained in shadows to do their lord's bidding.
It was around this time that Nergal and Hephaestus began seeing each other as enemies. Hephaestus didn't approve of Nergal sealing the Faerfolc in Tes Pellaria and he was also unhappy about Nergal's involvement with Mardük's plans. It quickly turned out that Nergal and his daughter Artemicia were already plotting to release Mardük to the world, and Hephaestus and Cardia had no choice but to oppose them. This began a millennia-long conflict between two factions of gods.
Various conflicts followed as Nergal and Artemicia tried to constantly disrupt the balance of power by manipulating events to create powerful warlords to do their bidding. The gods of light managed to stop the plans of the dark gods again and again, but both factions knew that eventually they would have to settle the score once and for all. For now they relied on their mortal pawns to do their dirty work for them, though.
The rise of Arawn Losstarot and the revival of Kagetsu nearly tipped the scale on the side of the dark gods but Hephaestus and Cardia managed to save the day by using the Grand Alliance to put an end to both Arawn and Kagetsu. However, they hadn't forseen that Kagetsu used his death as a catalyst to kill off every living Andain in the world and distribute their powers to the mortals, which resulted in the birth of Innate Abilities. Even in death Kagetsu had managed to mock the gods.
Blades of Light
Hephaestus was not content to let a disaster like Kagetsu's death happen again. He contacted his then-high cleric in Yamato in 1000 AE and ordered him to forge two blades of the purest elfsilver: Dawn for a female wielder and Dusk for a male wielder. Hephaestus hoped to use these blades to tip the scale for his and Cardia's favour in the continuing struggle between Order and Chaos.
Distreyd Thanadar XII, the new High Cleric of Mardük, had other plans. His Chaos Dwarves invaded the base of the Clergy of Hephaestus in Yamato and killed everyone save one cleric, Schuldich Cedheros, who managed to escape with Dawn and Dusk. While Hephaestus was busy keeping Nergal and Artemicia occupied, Cardia guided Schuldich to Aison where Marcus Sarillius received Dusk. When Schuldich reached Libaterra and was about to reveal whether Dawn was meant for Shyla Locken or Axikasha Keiran, Artemicia appeared and snatched Dawn from Schuldich and killed him for his troubles.
The Great War
The Grand Alliance was formed again when Marcus managed to rally a group of heroes behind him in Remon. The Alliance fought against the Yamatians and clerics of Mardük in a conflict known as the Great War and eventually liberated various countries. Ax, the woman who had seen Artemicia steal Dawn in Libaterra, also managed to snatch Dawn back to the forces of Light albeit with great losses.
However, Nergal and Artemicia had been busy as well and caused a chain of reaction which resulted in Mardük's release. As soon as Mardük walked the earth, the dark gods joined him and travelled to Kageshima to defeat the Grand Alliance, and the forces of Light in general, once and for all. The final battle was fierce, and Mardük summoned demons to boost his numbers.
When all seemed lost, Cardia and the good gods, including Hephaestus, came to help the heroes. Cardia and Mardük charged at each other, and Hephaestus faced Nergal. Just as the battle was about to get really messy, a new being known as the Godslayer appeared and devoured both Cardia and Mardük. Even the combined powers of the gods were too weak to stop the beast, and the gods had no choice but to retreat.
Yamato was quickly overrun by demons who no longer were under control of Mardük, and the Grand Alliance retreated to the other countries to lick their wounds. The Cataclysm shook the world, and the Age of Emptiness had begun. With Cardia gone, Hephaestus became the new leader of the Gods of Light.
Echoes of War
- "Go forth with all the strength of the Forge behind you, my High Cleric, and do not forget who you are. You are a worthy champion of the Light, a protector of those in need, a beacon of hope amidst the darkness of War and Chaos."
- —Hephaestus to Axikasha Keiran
Hephaestus remained in Starholme, the celestial city on the High Plane where Cardia had once been. He had still not recovered from his brother's death in the Cataclysm, and he had time to think. His clergy was gone, and the threat of the Godslayer loomed over him and the other gods daily.
The God of the Forge woke up from his thoughts when he sensed the presence of Nergal interacting with Dawn and Dusk, and he immediately realized what was going on. He appeared in the Ruined Kingdom and possessed Ax in order to prevent Nergal's host Jacob Seneron from stealing Dawn and Dusk. The two gods had a short banter through their hosts and began a fierce duel.
Despite only possessing Jacob, Nergal proved that he was worthy of the title of the God of War as he held his own against the possessed Ax and a large group of heroes simultaneously. It wasn't until Mori'sul Agara, possessed by Shakkan, entered the fray that Hephaestus and Shakkan managed to defeat Nergal's host. Nergal fled from Jacob's dying body but left the heroes and the two gods with a prophecy which said that the forces of Darkness would prevail soon.
Hephaestus appeared in godflesh in front of the heroes after the battle. He encouraged Ax to keep fighting for what she believed in and he also reminded her that she was not insignificant and had a role in the struggle to come. The god asked her to become his high cleric and help promote the causes of Light in a world which was on the verge of falling for Darkness forever. Ax reluctantly agreed and took the role for the time being: she would hunt down a man Hephaestus had seen fit to take the mantle of high cleric. Hephaestus also told Marcus to face his inner demons and get out of Shyralis's control.
Once Hephaestus had said these words of wisdom, he returned to the High Plane. After over fifteen years, his clergy was active once more.
Tears of the Sun
- "Your children? Shakkan, you know as well as I do that they're relics of the past. They should never have woken up, and they'll only bring misery in their wake. You must put them back to sleep... permanently."
- —Hephaestus to Shakkan
Hephaestus appeared to Nergal and smacked him upside the head, then vanished as suddenly as he'd appeared but not before mocking Nergal for spouting the same trite chess metaphors. This angered Nergal who swore to make Hephaestus pay.
As soon as Hephaestus got back to Starholme, he met Shakkan who complimented him for pissing off Nergal but also told him about what plans he had for the Sirithai. Hephaestus tried to talk Shakkan out of it, but the younger god did not listen and left Hephaestus with a warning: he would strike him and any other god down if they dared to persecute the Sirithai any longer.
Shakkan left Starholme, and Hephaestus remained in the celestial city to ponder what he had just heard. He hoped that Shakkan wouldn't make things worse in the long run.
The Winds of Wrath
- "Honour is more than just a myth, Artemicia. And these mortals before you know more of it than you could ever understand. They know what it means to offer themselves selflessly in the service of another, to lay down their lives for their brothers. They know what it means to work and hope for a better tomorrow, even knowing that tomorrow may never come. They've done as you asked, and now... your side will be upheld, whether you like it or not!"
- —Hephaestus to Artemicia
Hephaestus became aware of Shakkan's imprisonment by Awar and Artemicia's involvement in it during the heroes' adventures in the Sirithai lands, but he chose to bide his time to see what exactly Artemicia was planning. When Ax and the other heroes of the Grand Alliance confronted Artemicia in Vanna and heard that the goddess was not willing to free Khalid al-Saif and Xerathas d'Zarnagon from the confines of a giant magical hourglass, Hephaestus finally acted.
The God of the Forge appeared in the throne room and commented on Artemicia's remark about honour being just a myth and that he would force her to keep her word whether she wanted it or not. He then shattered the hourglass, freeing Khalid and Xerathas in the process. This angered Artemicia who challenged Hephaestus to a duel. The two gods returned to the High Plane to settle the score, and meanwhile the heroes began the Battle of Vanna to wrest control over Vanna from the Clergy of Artemicia.
More info later.
Aliases and Nicknames
- An affectionate name used by Cardia.
Hephaestus has a golden glow around him which shows that he is a god. He looks like a tall, armor-clad warrior with a mighty beard and noble features.
Personality and Traits
- "Such strength emanated from the God's presence, such gentle wisdom and endless patience...and such a deep, unconditional love. Before such a being, she couldn't help but feel so stupid and insignificant."
- —Axikasha Keiran, about Hephaestus
Hephaestus is calm and patient. He also has a sense of humour but he can get angry if he is provoked or if he sees injustice around himself. He often appears with a hearty laughter which drives away fear from anyone who faces the forces of Chaos.
Powers and Abilities
Hephaestus is an elder god and is thus quite powerful. His powers are only eclipsed by Nergal.
Hephaestus made Ax his high cleric and told her to spread hope to those who need it. Although Ax is willing to follow Hephaestus's ideals for the time being, she is eager to give her mantle to another person when the time is right.
Cardia was Hephaestus's brother, and the two got along well. Cardia's death made Hephaestus bitter and also more adamant than ever to see Cardia's vision of peace come true.
Nergal and Hephaestus cannot stand one another, and they often disrupt each others' plans. Hephaestus is more playful of the two, though, but Nergal's seeming senility might only be a ruse to wait for a moment when Hephaestus is off guard.
Shakkan and Hephaestus seem to get along although they share different views of the world. Although Shakkan acknowledges Hephaestus's elderly status, he is not always willing to take a pacifistic stance.